Wonder Women

A couple of years ago I noticed that I had trouble sleeping during nights of the full moon.

It was curious, standing in a moonbath at 1:00 in the morning that first time. It felt sneaky. I remember being surprised by the naughty smile on my face and then wondering why it felt so naughty.

The solitude, my bare feet, the peace, and the eerie glow on the greenery all felt very natural and wild.

I didn't consciously track the moon cycles for some time after that night, but an increasingly restless mind and body would tell me when a full moon was nearing. I simply began to pay more attention.

It eventually occurred to me that if I tracked these cycles, I could plan activities around them. I wouldn't be changing the path of the moon or holding back the ocean tides, but I could learn more about the cycles and plan for times of lower and higher energy. I began to act intentionally in harmony with nature.

Women always find a path back to their truth.

Energy workers
Jewish Mystics

Within whatever limitations they are raised, women all seem to find their way back to the divine feminine. They might unearth it, listen to a whisper, see it in a dream, read it in a book, or conjure it during meditation. "It" might be crushing herbs between her palms, keeping a secret stash of oils, chanting a soothing mantra, dancing freely, or walking alone in the moonlight.

Yesterday I began reading Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic. by Lisa Lister. It's one woman's experience with ancestral traditions and modern-day rituals that women can use to heal themselves. My favorite line from the text is a mantra she suggests to her readers: "It is safe for me to be powerful." I liked it so much because it doesn't quite feel true for me yet. It's a prayer and a wish.

I loved discovering that I already do a lot of the things she mentions, yet never recognized the connection between those self-care practices and what some have called witchcraft. I also noticed that most of my yoga friends and religious friends do a lot of the things she discusses. 

They just call them different things. It was a light bulb moment to realize that we might package it differently and put different rules around it, but we're really all just re-discovering that things that women have known for centuries: that we are a source of life and healing.

Without fear of being labeled demonic or dangerous, women are free to be who they really are. They will gravitate toward purposeful, soulful acts meant to reconnect to their inner wisdom. They will fully embrace their light and dark parts and become healthier human beings. Wonder Women.

Love without Trust

I read back through some old posts today and found a Yogi Bhajan quote that I shared: "Love without trust is like a river without water."

There are people in my life whom I love, but whom I don't trust with my feelings. I don't share myself with them. I'm a human shell that provides carefully calculated reactions to their actions. So what is that relationship exactly?

Is that really love?

It takes all the tools in my spiritual shed to be around them. I reinforce my emotional boundaries before being in their presence. I have to repeat to myself, " I'm okay. I'm safe. The entire universe is within me," while they say racist, homophobic, or generally close-minded things.

I have to choke back the urge to say, "Where did you read that statistic?" or "Do you hear yourself dehumanizing other people right now?" Inevitably, it will boil down to faulty religious doctrine mixed with a desperate need to validate their own choices. 

And all at once, my roiling anger will be washed away when I recognize their deep untouched pain.

A few years ago, I might have blamed my visceral reactions on anxiety issues. (Because it's the annoying cousin of depression, of course.) I now realize that I cannot tolerate hatefulness or controlling behavior. 

I also understand that when someone has been hurt so profoundly, they might deny it to protect themselves and then turn their pain out onto everyone around them. They build up walls and define things in their minds with immovable SHOULDs and SHOULDN'Ts. They lie to themselves constantly. They actively choose blindness. They're scared.

But it IS love.

Because I'm still going to sit and look them in the eyes while they rant in the opposite direction of compassion. I'll follow them as far as I can and still hug them at the end. I'm going to do the work to uphold my boundaries to be in their presence because I love them.

I will refrain from trying to educate them or change their minds because any argument will fortify their fear and anger and push them farther away from the truth.

One of my favorite quotes from my favorite person in the world is:

It's the ultimate expression of love. I'm going to let you believe what you want to believe even if I know it hurts other people, and I'm going to believe what I believe without forcing it on everyone around me.

I read a mind-bending article this week called "We're Going to Need More than Empathy." Rather than empathizing with people via our commonalities, I will reach beyond that to empathize with their otherness. 

If I can reach the beating heart in the other, a connection will have been made. That's the best I can do.

It's the biggest kind of love.

2017 Scene and Story #7

June was hectic. Not on the outside, but inside my mind. It was a time for waiting, processing, and patience. Instead of creating, I wished I was creating. I kinda hate those times, but I'm learning that they are part of the natural cycle. It's not always the harvest. Likewise, I'm not always writing the next great novel.

I stayed close to home and took lots of pictures in my backyard. 

Here is my favorite because Aaaawww:

Here he was a moment later because peaches are sticky:

This squirrel hopped up onto the railing letting me capture another private investigator-type shot:

A young bird had been cheeping for its mama for quite some time, but I couldn't quite see where he was hiding. Then I spotted him with a treasure in its beak:

Here is a ninja I spotted hopping down from the slide:

For all of 2017, I'm joining Sarah from Paisley Rain Boots and Lee from Sea Blue Lens for a monthly Scene and Story Linkup. They are my photography inspiration!